Felix the Cat yesterday on the Today show, via mycitypaper/Instagram
In 1927, three years after its first incarnation, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade replaced its live animals with balloons designed by marionette maker Anthony Frederick Sarg and made by the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company (more on that here). The first such animal-shaped balloon was Felix the Cat, and after a nearly 90-year hiatus, the Times reports that he’s returning to the parade this year.
Felix the Cat 1927 – first balloon in Macy’s Parade
The parade didn’t take place for three years during World War II, and many of the balloons, including Felix, were donated to the war effort for their rubber.
The new Felix was made to look as he did in that first parade, complete with poles propping him up. Deflated, he weighs between 60 and 70 pounds, but when filled with helium, “nearly 2,000 basketballs could fit inside him.” And making his return even more special is the fact that of the 16 giant character balloons and 24 small and medium versions, he’ll be the only one from the original parade.
If you want to see Felix and others get blown up, the balloon inflation takes place on Wednesday from 3 to 10pm near 79th Street and Columbus Avenue.
- The history of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, a grand NYC tradition
- New Yorker Spotlight: Behind the Magic of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with Creative Director Wesley Whatley
- QUIZ: Which Thanksgiving Parade Balloon Belongs in Which NYC Neighborhood?